ARIZONA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages people and groups wanting to protect critical wetlands, agricultural lands and grasslands to consider enrolling their property into conservation easements.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. Landowners are compensated for enrolling their land in easements.

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PHOENIX — The Arizona Corporation Commission held its monthly Open Meeting to discuss various water, electric, railroad, and investor fraud agenda items. The five sitting Commissioners voted on the meeting’s consent agenda items and discussed regular agenda items that will be voted on tomorrow. Here is a brief recap of the meeting highlights from day 1 of the March Open Meeting:

Commissioners vote to reduce regulatory burden for Global Water
Global Water owns multiple regulated utilities in Arizona. On November 28, 2018, Global Water filed an application on behalf of its utilities for Corporation Commission approval to eliminate certain compliance filings it deemed unnecessary, obsolete, and burdensome. These include unnecessary acquisition and compliance reports, duplicate rate case reports, and compliance requirements for a surcharge which no longer exists, among other items. During Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioners agreed with the company’s request to remove items from its regulatory reports.

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Salt and Verde Basins predicted to receive above normal runoff

PHOENIX - The Arizona Basin Outlook Report released this week by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) shows the state snowpack to be at above average levels. The federal agency monitors snow conditions in Arizona’s mountain watersheds each winter to estimate the amount of water available for spring and summer uses.

“The massive winter system that crossed the state in late February dramatically improved our snowpack conditions” said Travis Kolling, State water supply specialist with the NRCS in Phoenix, Arizona. “Over the second half of February, the statewide snowpack improved from 89 percent of average, to 124 percent of average by the end of the month.”

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Phoenix — The Arizona Corporation Commission voted today to direct staff to begin a regulatory audit and a rate review of Arizona Public Service Company (APS) following numerous complaints of increased electricity bills by customers of the utility. Today’s decision follows a letter docketed last month by Chairman Bob Burns and Commissioner Boyd Dunn asking staff to inquire whether APS properly and sufficiently executed its customer outreach and education programs.

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Online test created at least 18 more business days for MVD

The introduction of the online Permit Test @ Home learner’s permit exam has proven so successful that it created the equivalent of approximately 18 additional business days for Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division offices in 2018.

“The Permit Test @ Home has proven to be very popular, and even customers who don’t have a potential teen driver at home benefit from this online service,” said MVD Stakeholder Relations Manager Jennifer Bowser-Richards. “Every time this online test is taken, that means a teenager and at least one parent or guardian does not have to visit an MVD office for that purpose,” she explained.

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Suspect used stolen identity to apply for new license

PHOENIX – Arizona Department of Transportation detectives have arrested a Chandler resident whose nursing license was revoked for insurance fraud after she allegedly used a stolen identity to try and obtain a new nursing license.

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